Penland School of Crafts is a magical institution nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Its mission and philosophy are as inspiring as the surrounding landscape, and believe me- it’s an incredible setting. I first learned of Penland as a student at the NCSU College of Design. As a young mother with little time and no money, Penland seemed so out of reach. My son, Zach, wasn’t even two when I started university and I was barely twenty; there was never time for more than being mom, working, and school and the ends never seemed to meet.
At the suggestion of one of my professors I applied for a Studio Assistantship. Luckily for me, the stars aligned and I was admitted – the rest is history. My mother helped with Zach, Penland took care of tuition, and I learned to dream of design. I’m still living that dream and will be forever grateful for that single summer that changed everything.
My son is now 30 – and expecting a child of his own. (Yes! I am going to be a grandmother!) I visited Penland for a few days last summer in anticipation of teaching for two weeks this coming summer. Life comes full circle.
I used to go sit at Tom Hendrix’ wall to think, particularly on days when I thought I couldn’t take running my business anymore. I would ask Mr. Hendrix over and over again, “Where do you find the passion and will to continue creating 25, 26, 27 years into your work?” He would patiently listen to me, laugh, and tell me to go sit in the prayer circle. It always worked. Eventually the wall came to change my entire life – but that is a story for later. Come back in a few weeks to read the rest. This is the story of “The Wall,” as I know it.
Thanks @ Stephanie LaCava for this lovely piece in the New York Times today:
“I may be their most passionate member,” says the snow-white-haired designer Natalie Chanin of the Southern Foodways Alliance (S.F.A.), a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the culinary heritage of the American South. For years, it’s been Chanin’s calling to preserve the textile traditions of Florence, Ala., with her clothing line, Alabama Chanin. So when the S.F.A. director John T. Edge approached her about doing a collaborative project, hand-sewn quilts seemed like an obvious departure. Auctioned off this weekend at the Taste of the South event at the bucolic Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, this particular blanket features the words of Roosevelt Scott, the founder of Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, S.C.: “…Cut. Chop. Cook. It’s all right here. In the wood.” But it’s just one quilt of many. “Sign me up for a baker’s dozen,” Chanin said when she joined the cause.
Go to southernfoodways.blogspot.com. For information on bespoke quilts, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S: I wrote to John T. Edge last night that I am most certainly a very passionate member of the Southern Foodways Alliance; however, I question if I am their MOST passionate member. That title might go to Rathead Riley (Rathead T. Edge) – just saying… xoNatalie
Thank you to everyone who braved the rain and came out for our Holiday Market + Cocktail Party last night. Continue reading
Thanks to 1 band1 brand for featuring Alabama Chanin this week beside April Smith and the Great Picture Show.
Listen to some great music and check out their site.
Those of you who follow us on Twitter, Facebook and/or Tumblr, know that I was in New Mexico over the holidays. What resulted from this adventure was a love for the west and an understanding of why so many artists and creative types have settled to work there. I was deeply impacted by the beauty, spirit, and (perhaps mostly by) the clear, crisp air. The day my friend Jennifer and I landed we spotted four rainbows. Our friend Jeff wrote that such an unlikely experience is “possibly an indicator of good fortune to come.”
My blog post at EcoSalon this Friday is about our trip and the inspiration I found in a woman – long dead – named Mabel Dodge Luhan.
Thanks to EcoSalon for the continuing bi-weekly collaboration – read all of my stories there and make sure you let them know what you like.
A TRIP OF ONE’S OWN
“I can’t believe that I am doing this.” Wait. Laugh. Repeat. These were the words I kept echoing over and over again as I sat at Gate B27 in the Atlanta Airport. My girlfriend, Jennifer Venditti, is sitting across from me, looking like a vision of New York City chic. I stare at her in amazement. We are waiting to board a flight to Albuquerque, New Mexico, with plans to catch up on the last six months of one another’s lives.
Thank you to everyone who graciously showed their support for Alabama Chanin over this last week. Your purchases, emails, and love are the things that keep us going. It has been a wonderful (if sometimes difficult) year and we appreciate your incredible show of kindness and loyalty as we move towards the holidays and the end of the year. You make a difference.
Our team is working overtime to fill all of the orders, wrap beautiful packages, and get shipments out in the next days. Let us know if you have any questions or need a helping hand:
Email: office (at) alabamachanin.com or phone us Monday – Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm CST at +1.256.760.1090
We are posting new collection pieces, projects, and products every day… plus, we have a few surprises up our sleeves.
Stay tuned by joining our mailing list,
Rain on the metal roof, Natalie’s holiday iPod mix, and scissors through fabric – that’s all I can hear. It’s a busy day at the studio. Spirits are high, the orders are many, and some of our fabric stock is low.
Apologies to lovers of Burgundy and Blue Slate; we have exhausted our supply of these and a few other color options. There are still plenty of beautiful colors to choose from but supplies are limited; please order early to ensure selection.
Thanks to everyone who came out last night for our first ever Visiting Artist Series.
Our Handmade (the new favorite cocktail) with Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Small Batch Tonic and Tito’s Handmade Vodka was beloved by all!
And thank you to Jeff Moerchen for being our first…
Get his newly released book – Ligonier: A Photographic Essay.
Stay tuned for more Visiting Artists Series @ The Factory very soon …
It was such a treat to sit with Chris Thile over dinner this weekend and the chance to hear the Punch Brothers up-close-and-personal @Blackberry Farm.
(Along with lovely stories of bows and arrows, Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Converse… looking forward to many upcoming trips.)
Music Sunday = Modern Blue